‘The Satanic Verses’ Author Salman Rushdie was Stabbed while giving a lecture in New York
Authorities in New York say that on Friday morning, an attacker stormed the stage where Indian-born novelist Salman Rushdie was scheduled to appear. Rushdie had received death threats from Iran in the 1980s. According to the police, Rushdie was stabbed in the neck and taken by helicopter to a nearby hospital.
Hadi Matar, 24, of fair View, New Jersey, has been identified by police as the person in arrest. At a press conference on Friday night, State Police Maj. Eugene Staniszewski claimed that they had not determined a reason.
The 75-year-old celebrated writer was a guest lecturer at a Chautauqua Institution lecture series when the incident occurred. A police report states that at around 11 a.m. ET, a man stormed the stage and attacked Rushdie and the interviewer.
Rushdie was rushed to the hospital, and the suspect was quickly apprehended. Staniszewski stated that Rushdie was in the hospital undergoing surgery, and his current status is unknown. He added that Henry Reese, the interviewer, was treated for a concussion at a nearby hospital and discharged afterward.
Rushdie was on stage with City of Asylum co-founder Reese, who was also on stage at the time of the attack.
Events at the Chautauqua Institution, according to President Michael Hill, are evaluated on a case-by-case basis to determine their security requirements.
At the press conference, he remarked, “I would say we take our security measures very, very seriously,”
The institution claimed to have a State Trooper and a Sheriff’s officer present due to the significance of the event. Hill outlined the fact that Matar, like all other attendees, had paid for a ticket to the show.
Hill remarked about the events of today “What we experienced at Chautauqua today is an incident unlike anything in our nearly 150-year history,” Fear and the worst of human emotions, hatred, are what we are being asked to face head-on right now.
According to the event page for Rushdie’s visit, he and Reese were going to talk about how the United States may be seen as a safe haven for exiled writers.
Rushdie has written 14 novels, the most famous of which being The Satanic Verses, which prompted death threats from the leader of Iran in 1989.
Rushdie has long advocated for the value of free speech beyond his literary work. In addition to his ten years as chairman of the PEN World Voices International Literary Festival, he also served as president of PEN America from 2004 to 2006.
The CEO of PEN America, Suzanne Nossel, issued a statement expressing outrage at the news of the attack. Only hours before the attack, Rushdie had emailed her, asking for her assistance in finding shelter for writers in Ukraine.
Despite being persecuted for his writing for decades, “Salman Rushdie has been targeted for his words for decades but has never flinched nor faltered,” as Nossel put it. “He has devoted tireless energy to assisting others who are vulnerable and menaced.”